How to Start a Homestead Guide In 2023

how to start homesteading guide

Homesteading is a lifestyle that allows you to live self-sufficiently and sustainably by growing your own food, raising animals, and being resourceful with what you have. I grew up on a small farm in Michigan but now have a small homestead in Florida.

A hundred years ago, several states and territories had the homestead act, where people could claim land from the government for free. This free land was given to the pioneers that would live on it for a period of time, say five years. Unfortunately, there are not any opportunities like that anymore.

Homesteading can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that allows you to live a self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle. By growing your food, raising your own animals, and being resourceful with what you have, you can improve your quality of life, reduce your environmental impact, and save money in the long run.

kitchen garden, grow your own, food

Here are five reasons to consider starting a homestead:

  1. Grow your own food: One of the main benefits of homesteading is the ability to grow your food. By producing your own vegetables, fruits, and other crops, you can ensure that you and your family have access to healthy food. You’ll also be satisfied knowing that you are providing for your family’s needs in a sustainable way.

  2. Raise your own animals: Homesteading also allows you to raise your own animals for meat, milk, and eggs. By raising your own animals, you’ll know exactly where your food is coming from and can ensure that it is humanely raised. This can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and it can also provide a sense of self-sufficiency.

  3. Reduce your environmental impact: Homesteading can also help reduce your environmental impact by using natural, sustainable food production methods. You can use organic gardening techniques, compost your waste, and raise animals in a way that is gentle on the land.

  4. Save money: Homesteading can also save you money in the long run. By producing your own food and raising your own animals, you can reduce your reliance on grocery stores and other commercial food sources. This can save you money on groceries and help you live a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

  5. Improve your quality of life: Finally, homesteading can improve your quality of life in several ways. It can provide a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment, and connection to the land. It can also allow you to spend more time outdoors and live a more healthy and active lifestyle.

You might be asking, how to start a homestead? Here are some things to consider:

Identify Your Homestead life (Self-sufficient and Own Food)

Before you get started, it’s important to set clear goals for what you want to achieve with your dream homestead. Do you want to grow all your food, raise animals for meat, milk, or both?

Do you want to be self-sufficient in energy and water or focus on food production? Think about your available resources, including land, time, and skills.

Answering these questions will help you determine what is realistic and achievable.

For example, if you have a small urban lot with limited space and time, you might focus on growing a small vegetable garden and keeping a few chickens for eggs. On the other hand, if you have a large rural property, you might consider raising goats or cows for milk and meat and growing a larger variety of crops.

It’s also important to consider your skills and knowledge. Homesteading requires a wide range of skills, including gardening, animal husbandry, and carpentry.

chickens, birds, poultry

If you don’t have these skills, don’t worry ā€“ they can be learned. Consider taking classes or workshops or seeking out resources like books or online guides to help you learn what you need to know.

Talk to local farmers at your local farmers market. A farmer’s market is a public event where local farmers and other food producers sell their products directly to consumers. Farmers’ markets typically feature a variety of fresh produce, meat, dairy products, baked goods, and other food items, as well as crafts and other locally-made products.

Most people can’t start their homesteading dream right away due to where they live or resources. I would recommend trying to start homesteading on a smaller scale to learn. It might be having four chickens or a few tomato plants.

Picking a location (growing gardens, animals, water, energy, regulations)

Location is an important factor to consider when starting a homestead. You’ll need to think about things like access to water, sunlight, and fertile soil for growing gardens. If you plan on raising animals, you’ll also need to consider their needs.

For example, chickens need a coop to protect them from predators, and goats need a fenced area to graze.

You’ll also need to consider energy and water sources. Depending on your location, you may be able to use renewable energy sources like solar or wind power, or you may need to rely on traditional sources like propane or electricity. Water can be more challenging, especially if you’re in a dry area. Consider harvesting rainwater, drilling a well, or finding another water source for your homestead.

Finally, make sure to research local regulations and zoning laws to ensure that your homestead is in compliance. Some areas restrict the types of animals you can keep or the size of the gardens you can have. It’s important to understand these rules before you get started.

Here are the key things I look for:

  1. Size: Based on my goals, do I need 1/2 an acre or 100 acres).

  2. Zoning & Regulation: Can I have animals and farms in the county/city?

  3. Water: Is there a well, pond, or river to provide water to the animals and plants?

  4. Electricity: Does the area have electricity, or is it off the grid?

  5. Internet & Cell: Is there high-speed internet and cell phone coverage?

  6. Area Demographics: Some areas are more friendly to homesteaders than others.

  7. Hunting and fishing: What animals are available for hunting and fishing.

pile, animals, fairy tale

Choosing the right farm animals

When starting a homestead, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is which animals to raise. Here are some tips for choosing the right farm animals for your homestead:

Chickens

Backyard chickens are popular for homesteads, as they are relatively easy to care for and provide eggs. They need a chicken coop to protect them from predators and a small outdoor area to roam and forage. I recommend getting a small shed and putting an electric fence around it. Chickens are also good for pest control, as they will eat insects in your garden.

Rabbits:

Rabbits are another easy-to-care-for option for homesteaders. They are small and don’t need much space, making them a good choice for urban homesteads. They can be raised for meat or wool, and their manure makes an excellent fertilizer for your garden.

Sheep

Sheep are a good choice for homesteaders who want to produce wool or milk. They are relatively easy to care for but need a larger pasture to graze on. They are also prone to parasites, so keeping a regular deworming schedule is important.

Goats

Goats are another popular choice for homesteaders, as they can provide milk, meat, and even fiber for clothing. They are hardy animals and can thrive in various climates, but they need a fenced area to graze on and a shelter to protect them from the elements.

Cows

Cows are a good choice for homesteaders who want to produce a large amount of milk or meat. They are more challenging to care for than smaller animals, requiring a larger pasture and more feed. They also have a longer lifespan, so it’s important to be prepared for a long-term commitment.

Ducks

Ducks are a good choice for homesteaders who want eggs, as they are known for their large, delicious eggs. They are also good for pest control, as they will eat insects in your garden. Ducks need a pond or other source of water to swim in and a coop to protect them from predators.

Ultimately, the right farm animals for your homestead will depend on your goals, resources, and location. Consider what you want to produce, how much space and time you have, and the local climate and regulations. By choosing the right farm animals for your homestead, you’ll be able to produce your food and live a self-sufficient lifestyle.

urban gardening, locavore, regional

Gardening tips

Gardening is crucial in homesteading, allowing you to produce your food. To get started, you’ll need to prepare the soil, choose the right plants for your climate, and create a watering and fertilizing schedule. Some other tips for successful gardening include using organic methods, starting seeds indoors, and using mulch to conserve water.

One of the key components of homesteading is growing your own food. A garden allows you to produce fresh, healthy vegetables and fruits and can be a rewarding and fulfilling part of the homesteading experience.

Here are some tips for starting a garden for your homestead:

  1. Choose the right location: The first step in starting a garden is to choose the right location. Look for a spot with plenty of sunlight (at least 6-8 hours per day) and well-draining soil. If your soil is poor, consider amending it with a compost pile or other organic matter.

  2. Select the right plants: Next, decide what you want to grow in your garden. Consider the climate and growing conditions in your area and your personal preferences. Some popular vegetables to grow include tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, and squash. Fruit trees, such as apples, pears, and plums, can also be a good choice for homesteaders.

  3. Create a plan: Once you know what you want to grow, create a plan for your garden. Consider factors like the size of your garden, the amount of sun and shade, and the distance between plants. You can use a garden planner or design software to help you visualize your garden and ensure that everything fits.

  4. Prepare the soil: Good soil is the foundation of a successful garden. Before planting, prepare the soil by removing weeds, adding compost or other organic matter, and tilling or turning the soil. This will help create a healthy environment for your plants to grow in.

  5. Plant and care for your garden: Once your soil is prepared, it’s time to start planting! Follow the seed packets or plant tags instructions to determine how deep to plant your seeds or how far apart to space your plants. Water your garden regularly, and consider using mulch to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

  6. Start a compost pile or bin: Composting is an important part of homesteading. It allows you to recycle organic waste and turn it into valuable fertilizer for your garden with little or no money. To start a compost bin, collect organic materials like food scraps, yard waste, and paper products. Mix the materials together and turn them regularly to help them break down. The finished compost can enrich your soil and help your plants grow.

Raised garden beds

Raised garden beds are a popular gardening method that involves creating a garden bed that is elevated above the ground. Here are some pros and cons of raising garden beds:

Pros:

  1. Improved drainage: Bed can improve drainage, as the soil is elevated above the ground, and excess water can drain away more easily.

  2. Easier to maintain: It can be easier to maintain than traditional gardens, as they are easier to reach and require less bending and stooping.

  3. Better soil: They can have better soil than traditional gardens, as you can choose the type of soil and mix in compost and other amendments to create the ideal growing conditions.

  4. Pest control: It can be easier to protect from pests by using barriers or covering the beds with netting to keep pests out.

  5. Improved accessibility: Beds can be more accessible for people with mobility issues or disabilities, as they are easier to reach and work in.

Cons:

  1. Cost: They can be more expensive to set up than traditional gardens, as you’ll need to purchase materials such as wood or stone to create the beds.

  2. Limited space: Beds can take up more space than traditional gardens, as the beds are elevated above the ground. This can be a concern for people with limited outdoor space.

  3. Soil quality: While they can have better soil than traditional gardens, they can also dry out more quickly and may require more watering.

  4. Pest control: While beds can be easier to protect from pests, they can also be more vulnerable to pests that can climb or fly, such as rabbits or birds.

Overall, raised garden beds have pros and cons, and whether they are the right choice for your garden depends on your specific needs and circumstances.

salad, red lettuce, green lettuce

Community Garden

A community garden is a shared space where individuals or groups can grow their own fruits, vegetables, and other plants. Community gardens can be found in various settings, including urban neighborhoods, suburban areas, and rural communities.

Community gardens can take many forms, ranging from small plots in a shared backyard to larger plots on public land. A group of individuals, a community organization, or a government agency may manage them. Some community gardens are open to anyone who wants to participate. In contrast, others may have specific eligibility requirements, such as being a community member or meeting certain income guidelines.

Community gardens can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Increased access to fresh, healthy food: Community gardens can allow people to grow their food, especially in areas with limited access to fresh produce.

  • Improved physical and mental health: Gardening can be a physically active and relaxing activity that can positively impact health and well-being.

  • Increased sense of community: Community gardens can bring people together and foster a sense of community and social connection.

  • Environmental benefits: Community gardens can promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices, such as composting and water conservation.

Overall, community gardens can be a valuable resource for communities, providing opportunities for people to grow their food, improve their health, and build a sense of community.

Gardening Final Thoughts

Starting a garden for your homestead takes time and effort, but it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Personally, I have found raising chickens to be much easier than planting plants. Ask people in your community of what plants they are growing. By choosing the right plants and caring for your garden, you can produce fresh food for your family and live a self-sufficient lifestyle.

deer, wild animal, forest

Hunting and Fishing For Food

Hunting and fishing are methods of obtaining food by capturing wild animals or fish. Both activities have been important food sources for human communities for thousands of years and are still an important part of the diet and culture of many people worldwide.

Hunting and fishing can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Access to fresh, wholesome food: Hunting and fishing can provide a source of fresh food, especially in areas where access to other food sources is limited.

  • Economic benefits: Hunting and fishing can provide economic benefits, as hunters and fishermen can sell or trade the meat, pelts, and other products of their hunt or catch.

  • Cultural traditions: Hunting and fishing can be an important part of cultural traditions and can help to preserve cultural practices and values.

However, hunting and fishing also have some potentially negative impacts, including:

  • Safety concerns: Hunting and fishing can be dangerous activities, as they may involve using firearms or other weapons or handling large or potentially dangerous animals or fish.

  • Scariticy and Regulations: In most areas, there are regulations regarding hunting and fishing. This includes licenses and what can be hunted.

Hunting and fishing can provide fresh, nutritious food, but it is challenging and can’t be relied on as the sole food source. That being said, if your family shoots a moose, they could be set for meat for most of the year.

investment, concept, business

Homesteading Money Ideas

Homesteading is a lifestyle that involves growing your own food, raising animals, and being self-sufficient. While homesteading can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, it can also be a way to generate income. Here are some ways to make money homesteading:

  1. Sell produce: If you have a large garden, you can sell excess produce to neighbors, at a farmers market, or to local restaurants or grocery stores.

  2. Sell eggs or meat: If you raise chickens, ducks, or other poultry, you can sell eggs. You can sell meat if you raise pigs, goats, or other livestock.

  3. Sell homemade products: You can use the resources and skills you have on your homestead to create and sell handmade products such as soap, candles, or crafts.

  4. Offer homesteading workshops or classes: You can share your knowledge and experience with others by offering homesteading workshops or classes. This could be in the form of a one-time event or a series of classes.

  5. Rent out space on your homestead: If you have extra space on your homestead, you could consider renting it out to others who want to try their hand at homesteading. This could be in the form of a garden plot or a small livestock pen.

  6. Rent out your homestead as a vacation rental: If you have a large enough property, you could consider renting out your homestead as a vacation rental. This could be a way to generate income while also sharing your homesteading lifestyle with others.

Overall, there are many ways to make money homesteading, whether it’s by selling the products of your homestead, sharing your knowledge and skills, or renting out space or your entire property.

Preserve food

Preserving food is the process of extending the shelf life of perishable items by using techniques such as drying, canning, freezing, or pickling. There are many reasons to preserve homegrown food, including reducing waste, saving money, and ensuring a consistent food supply throughout the year. Here are some common methods:

  1. Drying is a traditional method that has been used for centuries. It involves removing the moisture from food, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow and spoil the food. Dried foods, such as jerky, fruit leather, and dehydrated vegetables, can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

  2. Canning is another popular method that involves cooking and sealing food in airtight containers. The heat from the cooking process kills bacteria, and the airtight seal prevents bacteria from entering the container. Canned foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and meats, can be stored for several years without spoiling.

  3. Freezing is an effective way to preserve food, as low temperatures prevent bacteria from growing. Frozen foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and meats, can be stored for several months without spoiling. To freeze food, wrap it tightly in airtight containers or vacuum bags and place it in the coldest part of your freezer.

  4. Pickling is used by soaking it in vinegar or other acidic liquids. The acid helps to kill bacteria and extend the shelf life of the food. Pickled foods, such as cucumbers, onions, and peppers, can be stored for several months without spoiling.

  5. Very common food preservation is either using a vacuum sealer or putting food in mylar bags with O2 absorbers. I have rice in 5-gallon buckets sealed in mylar bags for years.

Preserving food is a useful skill that can help you reduce waste, save money, and ensure a consistent food supply throughout the year. By using techniques such as drying, canning, freezing, or pickling, you can extend the shelf life of perishable items and enjoy the benefits of home-preserved foods.

concept, man, papers

Making a plan with smart goals

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your homestead, it’s time to make a plan. Use the SMART goal-setting technique to create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. This will help you stay on track and make progress toward your long-term objectives.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that can help you achieve your goals. Here are the steps to follow when making a SMART goal:

  1. Specific: A specific goal is clear and well-defined and answers the questions “what,” “why,” and “how.” For example, “I want to grow my own food” is not a specific goal, but “I want to reduce my grocery bill by 50% by planting my own vegatables, raising chickens and getting eggs ” is specific.

  2. Measurable: A measurable goal has concrete criteria for determining progress and success. This helps you track your progress and stay motivated. For example, “I want to improve my homesteading skills” is not a measurable goal, but “I want to have 100 eggs a week” is measurable.

  3. Achievable: An achievable goal is realistic and attainable, given your resources and constraints. It’s important to set goals that are challenging but not impossible. For example, “I want to be able to fully sustinable” might not be achievable if you’re starting out, but “I want grow all my own vegatables and eggs in 6 months” might be achievable with the right training plan.

  4. Relevant: A relevant goal is aligned with your values and goals and is meaningful to you. This helps you stay focused and motivated. For example, “I want to start a business” might be relevant if you’re passionate about entrepreneurship, but not if it’s not aligned with your values or long-term goals.

  5. Time-bound: A time-bound goal has a specific deadline or time frame for completion. This helps you stay on track and prioritize your tasks. For example, “I want to start homesteading” is not a time-bound goal, but “I want to start a homesteading within the next six months” is time-bound.

Following the SMART goal-setting technique can create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time. Homesteading for many people is an ongoing process. Embrace it and have fun.

Taking action toward a Sustainable Lifestyle

Now it’s time to put your plan into action! Start by implementing small, achievable tasks, and build up to bigger projects as you gain experience and confidence. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek resources when needed.

KISS is an acronym that stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It is a design principle that suggests that simplicity is key to creating effective and user-friendly products, systems, or processes. The idea behind KISS is that by keeping things simple, you can minimize complexity, reduce the chances of errors, and make it easier for people to understand and use.

The KISS principle can be applied to various situations, from product design to business processes to communication. In each case, the goal is to eliminate unnecessary elements and focus on the essential elements that are necessary for the product, system, or process to function effectively.

The KISS principle is often associated with the phrase “less is more,” suggesting that removing unnecessary elements can create a more powerful and effective product, system, or process. By following the KISS principle, you can create easy designs to use, understand, and maintain.

Lessons learned

As you start homesteading, you’ll inevitably make mistakes and encounter challenges. That’s okay ā€“ it’s all part of the learning process. Keep a journal or record of your experiences, and reflect on what you’ve learned. This will help you make adjustments and improve your homesteading skills over time.

Starting a homestead is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it does require time, effort, and resources. By setting clear goals, choosing the right location and animals, and making a plan with smart goals, you can get started on your homesteading journey and achieve your self-sufficiency goals.

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